I have been known to express concerns about the movement to push forward gay rights. This issue is always so tricky to discuss. It's not just "an issue" -- on either side, it involves real people with real concerns. Let me make it clear that I realize this. This issue is not far from my own life, as I have loved ones who live the often diffucult life of a homosexual. I know a little of the struggle that this can be, especially when compounded by a religious faith that doesn't support such a lifestyle. I am not cold-hearted about this, and yet I have strong feelings about the topic.
Some want to claim that anyone who takes a position against gay marriage is hateful, lacks compassion, and wants to force religion on other people. I think this is unfair. We need to be able to talk about the issue respectfully, and I rarely see that done. I also think that the issue is not as clear-cut and innocuous as gay rights supporters want to make it out to be, and this is something I want to address.
I thought I would share some of the reasons why I am concerned about the momentum gay rights are gaining in our country. To sum up some of my concerns: I think they might in fact be threatening the rights of others. In this post, my focus is on parental rights, particularly as they relate to school curriculum. If I can pull other thoughts together, I might address other concerns such as free speech and religious rights in future posts. (This is as much for me to clarify and consolidate my thoughts as it is to share them, so if all this does is boil your blood, perhaps you should just stop reading now. :) )
In Massachusetts (one of the states leading out in support of gay rights), U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf ruled that: "The constitutional right of parents to raise their children does not include the right to restrict what a public school may teach their children." Children as young as five (!!) have been exposed to information or concepts related to homosexuality, and parents have been told they cannot even opt their children out of such classroom teaching. They are basically told, "take it or leave it." Shouldn't taxpayers at one level, and parents especially, have some input or influence over school curriculum? Apparently not when it comes to homosexuality. (You can read the judge's written opinion here.)
(I wonder: Would the judge or the school demand that a parent "take it or leave it" if they were concerned about elements of the math curriculum or some other subject that doesn't involve such a hot-button topic? I have to doubt that they would....)
I find it interesting, though, that the same restrictions on parental rights don't seem to hold if generic religion is ever brought into the curriculum, even indirectly. Parents can protest such supposed
"offensive exposure" (think Pledge of Allegiance, for example), but when it comes to religious parents wanting to opt out of indoctrination that violates their religious beliefs, then the rights are restricted. I fear that the religion of the secular often gets favored status when it comes to "rights" -- and often at the expense of the rights of others.
I'm not thrilled that we have removed God from our schools and our public language. But I can understand wanting to give people the right to believe as they do and not make others' points of view feel "forced" on them. But then this needs to be consistent. I expect that I and my children should be offered the same right, including opting out of offensive teaching without being told to "hit the road." If we are going to protect those who don't believe and don't want their children exposed to religious belief, we ought to protect those who do believe and don't want to be exposed to things that violate their religious beliefs.
Another concerning situation has been discovered in Illinois. Freshman students at Deerfield High School were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement committing to keep secret the content in a "Freshman Advisory" class. They were told they couldn't even tell their parents! Students who didn't want to sign were basically pressured to do so (although apprently at least one student signed the document only after altering it). Apparently the content of this class around this time was focused on the gay agenda. (More information can be found here and here.)
Incidentally, giving a legal contract to a minor is illegal, so this agreement was either against the law or not legally binding. But would students know this (either way)? The contract surely appeared legal to these students, if not at least threatening. Clearly this was an effort to control and intimidate students to submit them to homosexual activism -- and then to deliberately hide it from the parents!
Apparently, this freshman class has also been used to teach about deviant heterosexual behavior. (Nevermind the fact that this is offensive content to many parents for a moment -- I fail to see what the academic justification for this is!) As parents and other concerned citizens started to realize that this class might not be something they wanted their youth to have, they requested to see copies of the materials for the class. Legally, this information should be accessible (per Illinois state law), but is kept behind a private portal of some sort. These requests for access to the class information have been denied.
Sooo.... Some questions I have swimming in my mind are these:
-If the gay agenda were simply about love and respect for all, why is there such deception and illegal and inappropriate control mingled with it? (NOTE: I speak collectively and not individually. I'm sure there are some who really only care about their personal lives and getting the rights they want. I am not addressing these people, but rather those who are behind such actions and motives as the above.)
-Why does this agenda include such devious efforts to get children exposed to and swayed by the bias of people who really have no right to tread on ground that is considered sacred to many? (Their motives seem highly suspect here and I think I could pretty accurately guess what their thinking is. And I am deeply concerned that they are willing to pull unsuspecting children into their battle. I still can't get over the fact that school officials, teachers, counselors, whoever would have the gall to demand that students be dishonest with their parents, knowing that many would be opposed to what was happening. I should add, too, that students who oppose such things are ostracized by other students. Where is the protection for them when they are harassed? Such harassment is never allowed toward gays. Again, another example of double standards with all of this.)
- What logic do gay rights activists hold to if, in their clamoring for rights they are willing to push the rights of religious people whose views differ to the side?
- If gay rights' activists protest the government's involvement in marriage and family life, why are they not bothered by the government's interference in the teaching of children on topics that for many are deeply religious -- a key element of their family life? The state's growing religion of secularism appears to me to be increasingly forced (without choice!) on more and more children. The whole reason for separation of Church and state as I understand it is to prevent compulsory, across-the-board indoctrination on religious principles. Since this issue involves religious principles for so many, a forced preaching of homosexuality seems to violate that principle in my mind. (Although I'm certainly no lawyer.) :)
In conclusion, it is very difficult for me to believe those who say that the gay rights movement doesn't or won't harm anyone, when from where I sit, I think they have already caused trouble. I can't help but think this is only the beginning of such trouble if we continue to let gay rights dictate the decisions made about what is and is not legal and appropriate. I think there is more to this issue than meets the eye.
A note about comments: I realize this is an issue many people are tired of discussing. If that describes you, please feel free to ignore what I have said. It might be better if you do. :) I also realize how strongly people can feel about this topic. I respectfully ask that any comments be about the information and the situations I have brought up, and not include personal attacks or bullying. If you have evidence to counter my concerns, by all means, feel free to share. I don't pretend to have a full understanding of this issue.
I do moderate comments. Inflammatory, attacking comments will either be edited or left out entirely. I don't expect that everyone will agree, and I'm open to listening to any point of view as long as it keeps on the topic at hand and I feel it remains respectful. Thank you.